Sabbatical Productivity: April

I am on sabbatical this semester and have been keeping a list in my journal of the academic activities I engage in. This practice is partly for myself, so that I make sure I am using the time productively, and partly for my institution, which requires me to write a report about the sabbatical once it finishes. Here is a list of what I accomplished in April, generally in chronological order. I did less than in previous months (you can read about what I accomplished in March here) because it’s been difficult to be productive due to the pandemic. I feel like I am slowly getting back on track, though.

1. Updated the Mennonite/s Writing Bibliographies and blog throughout the month.

2. Worked on revisions to my website.

3. Got an update that an essay collection on Ana Castillo’s work that I have a piece in passed peer review and will be published next year.

4. Finished sending acceptance emails for the Mennonite/s Writing IX conference scheduled to take place in October.

5. Submitted three senryu to a journal.

6. Finished and submitted a poem about the pandemic to a journal.

7. Finished a draft of an essay about Mennonite literature for an essay collection on present-day Anabaptist vitality. I had been working on it for a while before the pandemic and it was totally kicking my butt, so it felt like a huge triumph to be able to get back into my writing routine enough to be able to finish it this month. Most days I was only able to write a paragraph or two, but sometimes that is enough.

8. Finished a book that a journal has asked me to review and worked on notes for the review.

9. Wrote a blurb for a forthcoming book on Amish sexuality.

Published by danielshankcruz

I grew up in New York City and lived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Goshen, Indiana; DeKalb, Illinois; and Salt Lake City, Utah before coming to Utica, New York. My mother’s family is Swiss-German Mennonite (i.e., it’s an ethnicity, not necessarily a theological persuasion) and my father’s family is Puerto Rican. I have a Ph.D. in English and currently teach at Utica College. I have also taught at Northern Illinois University and Westminster College in Salt Lake City. My teaching and scholarship are motivated by a passion for social justice, which is why my research focuses on the literature of oppressed groups, especially LGBT persons and people of color. While I primarily read and write about fiction, I am also a devoted reader of poetry because, as William Carlos Williams writes, “It is difficult / to get the news from poems / yet [people] die miserably every day / for lack / of what is found there.” Thinkers who influence me include Marina Abramovic, Kathy Acker, Di Brandt, Ana Castillo, Samuel R. Delany, Percival Everett, Essex Hemphill, Jane Jacobs, Walt Whitman, and the New York School of poets. I am also fond of queer Mennonite writers such as Stephen Beachy, Jan Guenther Braun, Lynnette Dueck/D’anna, and Casey Plett. In my free time I’m either reading, writing the occasional poem, playing board games (especially Scrabble, backgammon, and chess), watching sports (Let’s Go, Mets!), or cooking (curries, stews, roasts…).

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